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Switzerland – the new data hub

Zurich is doubling its capacity for international cloud providers, forging ahead to sixth place on the list of European data hubs.

The major cities of London, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam were long deemed to be the most important and fastest growing data locations in Europe. But several studies have shown that Switzerland – Zurich in particular – is now gaining ground. The upcoming projects in and around Zurich will more than double the available data center capacity in the next few years. According to CBRE, Switzerland has thus advanced to 6th place.

Zurich – the new cloud city

But what is the driving force behind the construction boom? Is it the trend towards outsourcing corporate data centers that we have witnessed for some years now, or is it the increased cloud usage? “The cloud is the most significant driver,” said Green CEO Roger Süess, who went on to explain that, “By setting up Swiss data sites, the large international cloud providers (hyperscalers) are requesting large volumes now.”

Business is growing fast. Turnover generated by cloud services was approximately 2.54 billion Swiss francs in 2017 and it is set to increase to around 7.61 billion Swiss francs by 2021. The area in and around Zurich is in a good position to increase capacity rapidly. The region is not short of building plots, energy reserves or the specialist personnel required for data center construction and operation. There is also a large enough customer base that is of interest to cloud providers, i.e. a variety of demanding companies from the financial industry as well as customers from the pharmaceuticals branch and the public sector are located in the catchment area. They are all industries that, due to regulatory stipulations, have used cloud offerings based abroad only to a very limited extent and are now investing significantly in digitalization.

From 67 to 168 megawatts

An analysis by DC Byte has revealed that Zurich is growing dramatically as a data region. From a current power capacity of 67 megawatts – spread between 24 data centers – those providers that have specialized in hyperscalers are growing particularly strongly. 24 megawatts of capacity is currently under construction and another 78 megawatts is already planned in additional projects. And these figures represent a rather conservative estimate on the part of the authors of the study.

In Zurich, three quarters of the capacity is currently shared between four providers; of these, Green provides the most capacity according to

With the two construction projects in Dielsdorf (Metro Campus Zurich with 50 megawatts) as well as the first stage of the expansion in Lupfig (Zurich West 4 with 16 megawatts), Green is playing its part in facilitating the extra growth needed for the cloud providers. In addition, the comprehensive range of colocation services will mean that companies of all sizes will be able to rent space in the new data centers and, explained Roger Süess, “thus benefit from the close vicinity to the large cloud providers.” An advantage that companies highly value.